Building trust and lasting impact

Vivian Tan, SheXO Program Partner, discusses her career journey as an Audit & Assurance Partner, and the challenges posed by the pandemic on the audit profession. In this article, she also reflects on the benefits that mentorship and sponsorship can provide to women at any stage of their career.

Trust is like a snowball. It grows bigger with momentum as it rolls. For many of us, the momentum was disrupted when COVID-19 hit us more than 2 years ago. The experience was unprecedented and we all had to learn to adapt quickly to the new way of remote working. I was admitted to partnership in 2019 and one takeaway from the first SEA partners conference which I attended offsite in Bali in October 2019 was ‘to be present’. Being present took a different form during the pandemic. Direct supervision and on-the-job guidance were largely absent. We took to various virtual modes to connect with the teams. Regular check-ins and stand-up meetings became the norm and we were more deskbound than ever.

The audit landscape also evolved quickly as a result of the pandemic. As an Audit & Assurance Partner, engagement with the audit teams and clients increased to discuss various related topics from virtual stock count observation (or alternative procedure), asset impairment to going concern which were to many not a consideration in the past. The extent of impact arising from the pandemic also varies and the audit approach had to be tailored. Often, we find ourselves working longer hours and fatigue sets in. Having a strong support network is critical as we deliver on our client commitments. We may miss the spontaneity and efficacy of face-to-face physical interaction but the snowball of trust with our various stakeholders continue to grow as we remain engaged and connected.

Beyond client commitments, we at Deloitte stay focused on our D&I initiatives. Mostly recently, in celebration of International Women’s Day (“IWD”), we held a virtual chat on the theme of Be The Butterfly: Break the bias and make an impact where our SEA colleagues spoke on their efforts to impact the lives of women and girls everywhere. We want to create an inclusive working environment free from bias where we have a sense of belonging to.

The theme of this year’s IWD celebration was particularly close to my heart as the multiplier effect of small changes resonate strongly with me. I’m grateful for the opportunities and mentorship given to me throughout my career. Invaluable lessons were learned from each of my mentors and they were part of the building blocks of my career. I’m deeply thankful for their willingness to listen, share and guide. Mentorship continues regardless each phase of career I’m in. It is always heartwarming to know that there is someone we can turn to for advice even when we are mentors to others ourselves.

Mentorship and sponsorship which are part of our D&I initiatives will benefit young women as they develop professionally. Both mentorship and sponsorship provide a safe support platform and opportunity for young women to interact with experienced leaders whom they can learn from and be inspired by.

As we transit to the new normal, I look forward to being a mentor and sponsor as we champion diversity and inclusion.

Vivian believes strongly in independence and autonomy of thought; she brings her unique point of view while appreciating the balance another person's perspective may offer. She also likes yoga, plays a bit of tennis and you can spot her in a cafe enjoying her favorite cup of tea on a rainy day!

Did you find this useful?